Spurs extend Sacramento's skid with late run

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Spurs extend Sacramento's skid with late run

March 11, 2011BOXSCORE KINGS VIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD
SAN ANTONIO (AP) Bat scares and losses. That's all the Sacramento Kings get when they visit San Antonio.Manu Ginobili scored 24 points, but this time took no bold swipes at a bat once again interrupting a Kings game in San Antonio, and the Spurs survived both the bat brush and Sacramento in a 108-103 win Friday night.Last season against the Kings - on Halloween, no less - Ginobili swatted down a bat circling the court. But what at first was commended as fearless reflexes wound up getting Ginobili a rabies vaccination and the scorn of animal rights activists.He wasn't making that mistake twice."I said 'Not again,'" Ginobili said. "PETA insulted me. So I said this time someone else is going to take care of it."Tony Parker scored 27 points and Tim Duncan had 15 for the Spurs. The brief bat commotion in the second quarter ended when it flew smack into a fan seated in the third row, and after that, the NBA-best Spurs had their work cut out for them against the lowly Kings.Jermaine Taylor and Omri Casspi had 16 points apiece for Sacramento, which took a 91-88 lead midway through the fourth quarter on Taylor's alley-oop dunk. The Kings already count the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando among their scant 15 wins this season, and at that moment, it looked like they might add the Spurs to the list during an otherwise miserable season.But Ginobili answered with two 3-pointers on the next three Spurs possessions. That jump-started a 17-2 run that quickly changed a near-upset to the fifth straight loss for Sacramento.Sacramento has lost 11 in a row to the Spurs, a streak that dates to 2007."It was kind of an impossible dream for us," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "We were sitting here talking about how maybe we could have beat the Spurs on their court. But maybe we could have."Ginobili scored 10 points in the fourth, and DeJuan Blair had six of his 14 points in the quarter. George Hill also scored 14 for the Spurs.Pooh Jeter finished with 15 for the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins had 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Francisco Garcia added 14 points.The Spurs played without forward Richard Jefferson, who missed the game for undisclosed personal reasons. Rookie James Anderson started in his place, scoring just three points in 18 minutes.Jefferson is expected to back in the lineup Sunday at Houston. It's the easiest stop on a three-game road swing for the Spurs, who'll also play at Miami and at Dallas before returning home March 19 to play Charlotte."We're going to have to play way better," Ginobili said.The Kings were also down a starter. Point guard Beno Udrih, their second-leading scorer (13.8 ppg), stayed in Sacramento with the flu. Luther Head started in Udrih's place, scoring seven points.Last season it was Udrih giving Ginobili grief for his bat-batting. This time, Westphal came closest to the bat, but whiffed when he took a lunging swing at it with his whiteboard."If that thing would've come six inches closer, I probably would have knocked it into next year," Westphal said.An usher wrapped the bat in a towel after panicked fans in the third row grounded it. They said the usher carried the bat away alive."Every time we come there's a bat out there on the court," Westphal said. "It's more of gamesmanship from Pop, I'm sure. You notice it's always flying around on our end."Notes: The Kings will have one more chance April 6 to break their skid against the Spurs. ... San Antonio improved to 31-3 at home.

Down on the Farm: Beede earns third win with River Cats on 24th birthday

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AP

Down on the Farm: Beede earns third win with River Cats on 24th birthday

Tyler Beede stepped on the hill at Raley Field in Sacramento on Tuesday night one year older and came away with one more win after the River Cats defeated the Memphis Redbirds, 6-2. 

Beede, now 24 years old, didn’t churn out his most impressive or dominant performance, but he limited hits and found a way to earn his third win of the year. On the night, he completed 5 1/3 innings pitched and only allowed four hits and two earned runs. He did, however, walk more batters (3) than strikeouts (2), which is his lowest strikeout total in a game this season. 

Those numbers shouldn’t be too surprising when looking at Beede’s trends this season on the mound. In his nine starts for the River Cats, he is walking slightly more batters than last year when he was in Double-A Richmond, and he’s significantly striking out less batters. Through 49 innings pitched, which leads the River Cats, Beede is issuing 3.31 walks per nine innings (3.24 BB/9 in 2016) while only striking out 5.88 batters per nine, compared to 8.25 K/9 last year. 

Instead, the Giants’ top pitching prospect is turning to ground balls, setting him up smarter for the future. After forcing seven groundouts to three flyouts on Tuesday, he is now rolling ground balls 56.5 percent of the time, an increase from 47.9 percent last season. 

Sacramento plays in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. All teams outside of the River Cats, who are last in the league with a team batting average of .238, are averaging just over five runs per game and almost one homer every game. Beede, isn’t letting the ball fly through air and has only allowed three homers off of him this season. This plays well for his and the Giants’ future. 

Whenever Beede finds his way to San Francisco, he doesn’t need to rely on his mid-90s fastball to get outs. The strikeouts will come, but life will be much easier watching a Gold Glove infield scoop up grounders for years to come. 

While Beede waits his turn to join the bigs, he’s showing maturity on the hill and stayed undefeated at home on a birthday night to remember. 

Around The Horn

— The Giants’ top power prospect, Chris Shaw, has been called up from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A Sacramento. Shaw, 23, played only first base in the minors before this season, but has transitioned to left field. He played 18 games at first and 18 games at left for the Flying Squirrels, registering no errors in the outfield. 

— Kelby Tomlinson is working in center field while with the River Cats. Insider Alex Pavlovic spoke to Bruce Bochy about the move

— Bryan Reynolds, the Giants’ top pick in 2016, finished a home run short of the cycle on Sunday. He went 5-for-6 with four RBI in the San Jose Giants’ win. On the season, Reynolds now has 14 multi-hit games in 38 games played. Here’s the breakdown: Six two-hit games, seven three-hit games and one five-hit game. 

More Curry-Durant pick-and-roll? Mike Brown: 'I love Steve, but...'

More Curry-Durant pick-and-roll? Mike Brown: 'I love Steve, but...'

The Warriors led the NBA in offensive rating (113.2) during the regular season.

The Warriors are second in the league in offensive rating (115.8) in the playoffs.

Scoring is not an issue.

But will we see the Warriors run more pick-and-roll in the NBA Finals, specifically the Steph Curry-Kevin Durant combination?

"Steve (Kerr) isn't really into this much," interim head coach Mike Brown told ESPN's Zach Lowe. "He's more about spacing and movement -- and that's fantastic. I love Steve, and wherever I might go, I'm going to incorporate a lot of stuff he does.

"But in the playoffs, sometimes you have to attack a mismatch. When I need a bucket, that's what I'm going to do."

Mr. Kerr -- your response?

"Mike is right about me, but I also recognize the need to do it more as defenses get tougher," Kerr told ESPN. "It's about finding the right balance between isolating when we need to, and keeping the flow that makes us who we are."

During the regular season, the Warriors ranked last in pick-and-roll possessions per game -- both when the ball-handler ended the possession, or when the roll/pop man ended the possession.

Steph Curry averaged 6.1 pick-and-roll possessions per game -- 28th in the NBA.

That number is up to 7.5 per game in the playoffs.

“I think we’re still at our best when we’re simple about what we’re doing,” Curry recently told Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group. “Whether it’s pick-and-roll and you’ve got everybody spaced. You’ve got shooters where they need to be. You’ve got the dive man where he needs to be with space to put pressure on the rim. 

"You’ve got a ball-handler playmaker with it that can come off and shoot it, get a bucket. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be more complex than that. We’ve got the awareness that, that needs to happen.”